Luxor balloon trips back on after air crash

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HOT air balloon trips have resumed over the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor, almost two months after Scottish woman Yvonne Rennie was among 19 people killed in an explosion.

Mohammed Ibrahim Sherif, head of the civil aviation authority, said the first hot air balloon was launched in the southern city after safety measures, required by his office, had been implemented. He said five out of seven companies have been allowed to resume flights.

Ms Rennie, 48, from Perth, died when a fire and explosion caused the balloon to plummet into a sugar cane field on 26 February.

Her husband Michael, 49, a construction worker, survived by leaping from the balloon basket. He was able to return home following treatment at Luxor International Hospital.

Luxor governor Ezzat Saad, who boarded the first balloon with several British, Australian and Arab tourists, said he was pleased with the resumption, and considers the sport “one of the most important touristic aspects of the city”.

Initial investigations suggested the fire broke out when a landing cable tore a fuel tube used to fire the burner that heats the balloon’s air.

Mr Sherif said investigations were still ongoing and may take another five weeks.

Ballooning experts say the accident was the worst in the sport’s 200-year history.

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